The Sammamish City Council faces a complex set of issues interconnecting the Town Center and efforts to revise its traffic concurrency policies.
At stake is whether the Town Center proceeds per the 2009 plan adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council or, as some desire, the plan is reopened with the goal of down-sizing it.
Reopening the plan also allows the possibility of some advocating an up—zoning of the TC.
The city is under a building moratorium adopted last October. The council and staff want to lift the moratorium in July, but controversy over how to proceed with revisions for concurrency casts doubt over whether revisions may be ready by then.
Sammamish City Council member Ramiro Valderrama displayed hypocrisy last Tuesday in his aggressive attempt to force fellow member Tom Hornish to remain on committees following acceptance of a new job in the private sector.
Two years ago, Valderrama sought a new job in the public sector that would have had direct conflict of interest with his city council position. It would have meant choosing between his new job and the council when it came to attending meetings and committee meetings. It likely meant Valderrama would have missed the council’s annual retreat at which goals and committee assignments are made for the coming year.
Yet Valderrama vowed to retain his council position if he got the new job and brushed aside all objections from his constituents.
When Hornish stepped up and recognized time constraints were coming, resigned his position as deputy mayor and stepped off all but one committee, Valderrama—oblivious o his own actions two years earlier—objected and engaged in a transparent attempt to set Hornish up to fail and ultimately force him off the council.
As the Sammamish City Council prepares to transition next month to the largest makeover in a single year since incorporation, the first order of business after the swearing in of four new council members will be to select a mayor for the next two years and deputy mayor for the next year.
Christie Malchow earned selection as mayor. Tom Hornish earned selection as deputy mayor.
Both are two years in to their first, four-year term.
Their leadership and willingness to dig deeply into issues during their first two years has been nothing short of outstanding. Their honor and integrity is likewise outstanding.
The Sammamish City Council returns Sept. 5 from its August recess with traffic and concurrency the No. 1 priority and the No. 1 item on the agenda.
City Manager Lyman Howard will present a proposal to establish a “roadmap” going forward to take a top-to-bottom look at how the City implements traffic concurrency policies and testing that are required before development can be approved.
Controversial study prompts review
The review is the outgrowth of a controversial study by a Sammamish citizen, Miki Mullor, who concluded the City Staff had manipulated data to approve development. After a de facto moratorium brought on by the 2008 Global Recession, an improving economy and capital liquidity enabled a major spurt of growth that saw wholesale tree removal and increased traffic congestion over a few years beginning about 2014.
Mullor’s study contained incendiary charges that prompted Howard to label it “inaccurate” and “deeply offensive” at the June 6 Council meeting, the day after Mullor emailed the study to the City. Howard suggested later at the same meeting that Staff would answer questions raised by the study and from the Council.